Friday, November 22, 2013

Cardamom and Orange Pull-Apart Bread #Improv

Oh my—it is good to be back! I didn’t realize that I haven’t posted for over 2 months..yikes. For those not in the know, I had the good fortune of being chosen a finalist in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied. What a fabulous party Pillsbury puts on-- I didn’t bring home a prize, but the whole experience was just amazing. I plan on sharing some stories and some great recipes in the near future, but for now let’s get on with some baking!

It’s perfect that the first recipe I’m going to tackle is an Improv challenge sponsored by Kristin of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Each month Kristin gives us two ingredients to get creative with. This month we have Cardamom and Orange, two of my favorite flavors (as evidenced in my Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe: Orange Cardamom Blueberry Crostata!).

Have you been seeing a slew of  pull-apart bread pins on Pinterest? I think I might be a little late to the party, but I've been wanting to try a pull-apart bread for awhile since they look so yummy. This is my perfect opportunity. 

Orange Cardamom Pull-Apart Bread
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
3-3 ½ C flour
1 t. salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; grease a large loaf pan (9").

Heat the milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, and orange peel over medium/low heat until the butter begins to melt and the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and allow it to cool to 115 degrees F. (bathwater warm). Whisk the yeast into the milk mixture and let it stand for 5-10 minutes, or until it starts to foam. 

In the mean time, whisk together 3 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and, using the paddle attachment, beat for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is shaggy. Switch the paddle out for the dough hook and continue to knead the dough, adding additional flour as needed, for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl, turning it over once. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour or until double in size.

I love the orange color.....

Gently deflate the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface (I use a Silpat) roll the dough into a large rectangle. Brush the melted butter over the top. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom and sprinkle all of it evenly over the melted butter.
 Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 strips, then carefully stack all of the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 slices. Place the stacks of dough, cut side up, into the greased loaf pan (I staggered mine). Allow the dough to rise for about 20 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes; cover with foil if it darkens too quickly. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Frost while warm.

Carefully stack 'em, then slice 'em again...

Be careful not to crowd the want to leave enough room for it to rise.

The top may get a little dark in color, but be sure not to under-bake or the middle will be doughy.

I may use more orange juice next time to make more of a glaze...

For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and the orange peel. Add enough orange juice until the desired consistency is reached.

I spooned the frosting into a baggie and snipped the end...this made it easier to drizzle on the warm bread.

So good...and best eaten warm. Oh, go ahead and slather some more butter on it...

Now, let's take a look at what everyone else is making with Cardamom and Orange!